On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff hosted a town hall for Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees in the Theodore von Kármán Auditorium to discuss his concerns with the recent cuts to the NASA Budget, and particularly the Mars program, and to hear the views of JPL employees. After President Barack Obama announced the cuts, Schiff vowed to fight them “tooth and nail” in the Congress.
“I am always inspired by meeting with the brilliant people at JPL,” Schiff said. “It makes me even more determined to keep the incredible team of scientists and engineers at JPL together, and to preserve American leadership in space exploration. Even as we await Curiosity’s landing on Mars in August, we need a concrete plan in place to use their immense talents to further our knowledge of our planetary neighbors.”
“Congressman Schiff has been a tireless advocate for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and I look forward to continuing my work with him,” said JPL Director Administrator Charles Elachi. “His support for the Mars program and increased funding for planetary science are vital as we work to ensure that the United States remains the leader in space exploration.”
The President recently released his budget, which included $226 million in cuts to NASA’s Mars exploration program, and total proposed cuts to NASA’s planetary science operations total $309 million — about 20 percent of what the program received in the 2012 budget. As a result, JPL could see several hundred employees lose their jobs. Schiff hosted this town hall to talk directly with JPL employees who would potentially be affected by the cuts.